A new website based on e-therapy methods developed in Holland is to be launched next month in the UK.
A wholly owned subsidiary of one of Holland’s largest treatment centre providers, Tactus, will provide a 16 week, online, structured clinical treatment programme for those that are concerned about their drinking habits.
The idea is based on a successful e-therapy programme that was launched in the Netherlands by Tactus in 2004. This found that participants who finished the programme decreased their alcohol consumption significantly.
The Dutch programme, which is backed by €2m of funding from Tactus, has led to some e-therapy treatments becoming available on the Dutch health service.
The new UK site, lookatyourdrinking.com, will allow participants to receive bespoke therapy from an accredited therapist.
They will be able to work at their own pace, during their own time. They will also be able to retain complete work files, exercises and therapy histories when the programme is over.
The site’s UK manager and former director at the Priory in London, Marco Martinez, said: “This is a completely new concept for the UK.
“The underlying programme is based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy, with very detailed, effective clinical treatment and long individually based interactions as well as chat room forums which are moderated by therapists.”
The programme, which will be launched on 8 July, costs £1,250 for the first half of the programme and a further £1,025 if the participant wants to complete the second half.
However, Martinez stressed that having professional face to face therapy for an addiction can cost £5,000-£30,000. He also said talks were ongoing with several primary care trusts about making the programme available on the NHS.
“If it was available on the NHS, it would mean much quicker access to help as people would not need to be placed on waiting lists and it would also remove the fear of stigmatisation that people believe they may experience during face to face therapy.”
The site has a social networking element to it which Martinez hopes will appeal to younger people who binge drink and women at home who have children and find it difficult to attend therapy.
Martinez added: “The engagement in chat rooms is amazing, and its really big news in Holland. People are building up their own support networks and getting together in person.
We need to be clear that this programme is not for treating heavily addicted people, nor is it an abstinent programme, it is about setting your own goals and wanting results.”